SAN JOSE, Sporting Alert – With Sergio Ramos looks a certain bet to stay with Real Madrid this summer, Manchester United know they must look elsewhere to find a quality centre-back before the start of the English Premier League season.
The Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal has been busy addressing other areas of his squad, include making positive additions to his central midfield with the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
However, the Dutchman is yet to strengthen his weakest department and it could come back to haunt him if the transfer window closes and he has to look to the likes of Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling.
Youngsters Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett are also options available.
On Saturday against Barcelona in their International Champions Cup 3-1 victory, Manchester United looked solid, but it was more down to the work rate of the midfielders, who protected the backline exquisitely.
Van Gaal opted to start with Jones and Daley Blind as his chiefs in the heart of the defense against the Spanish and European champions, and it looked certain that he will try the pair together again against Paris Saint-German on Wednesday night, as he seeks to build his partnerships for the EPL opener against Tottenham on 8 August.
And while it worked against Barcelona in a preseason game, the Dutchman already knows that things will be different once the season starts.
It is clear that, although he’s a very good player, Blind lack the pace needed to play in the backline in the Premier League, and van Gaal’s little experiment could backfire on him again – just like his successful preseason 3-5-2 formation disintegrated once the Premiership began last year.
It is almost certain summer target Ramos will not be heading to Old Trafford – and it was evident from the get-go that Real Madrid had no intentions to sell the Spanish international.
With the future of goalkeeper David de Gea still in doubt, Manchester United could find themselves in even further dilemma should he decides to leave this summer.
That would mean, no world-class centre-backs or an outstanding goalkeeper to protect the sharks from making life difficult for newbies between the sticks in the Premier League.
Yet, van Gaal revealed that he will not try to sign another defender if a deal for Ramos falls through, as he is satisfied with his options in the squad.
It is understood Manchester United, although showing interest in signing defender Nicolas Otamendi from Valencia, will not make a move for the Argentine international, as they feel the Spanish club is trying to start a “bidding war” for the wantaway player.
Otamendi has told Valencia that he wants to leave as he looks to push through a move to the English Premier League.
However, the Spaniards are holding out for a reported £35million for the player.